Category: Motorsport

MotoGP contingent heads to Austria

Just a week after the Brno round, MotoGP crews are back in action again at the Red Bull Ring in Austria for Round 11 of the Championship. This is the second set of back-to-back races of the the season, only the fourth edition held here.

The Championship scenario is all Marc Marquez at the moment unless Andrea Dovizioso could answer the challenge. Marquez has been consistent at Red Bull Ring with top five finishes in the previous three occasions, including two seconds. He’ll be hunting for a first win this time around.

Team mate Stefan Bradl will again join the Repsol Honda Team in place of the recovering Jorge Lorenzo. The German rider is excited at the prospect of another Grand Prix aboard the RC213V after improving his feeling on the bike during the Brno weekend. Racing in Austria in 2016, Bradl has some experience of the track to draw upon.

Following his second place finish at Brno last weekend, Dovizioso currently also lies second in the championship standings with 147 points (63 behind leader Márquez) and he arrives in Austria determined to repeat the results of the last three editions, in which he has always been on the podium: second (2016), first (2017) and third (2018). For his part, Team mate Danilo Petrucci will be aiming to step onto the podium of the Austrian track for the first time, so as to maintain his third place in the overall standings with 129 points, 15 ahead of Suzuki’s Alex Rins in fourth.

In the Yamaha camp, Maverick Viñales took a solid sixth place twice in Austria, and a twelfth place last year. This year he is planning to come back fighting at the Spielberg track, especially after showing strong pace again at the Brno test. At the last testing, he worked on braking later and deeper to suit the Spielberg track’s stop-start corners to make sure that he would be able to get in the mix for the battle for top positions.

MotoGP veteran and 9-time champion Valentino Rossi looks to pour his best riding as he knows  that the nature of the Red Bull Ring traditionally doesn’t play into the Yamaha’s strengths. The Doctor is more familiar with the Spielberg track than most. He first visited the rostrum there in 1996, taking third place in the 125cc class, and secured second place in the same class a year later, before a 19-year hiatus in Austrian GPs. The Italian’s best premier class result in there is the fourth place he snatched in 2016. It’s his aim to try and change that this year and reach for the podium.

The action begins with FP1 on Friday morning, between the picturesque hills of the Red Bull Ring. Lights for the 28-lap Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich will go out at high noon on Sunday.

Marquez snatches win No.50 in Premier Class at Brno

The MotoGP Brno race saw Reigning Champion Marc Marquez claim his 50th premier class win. Ducati rival Andrea Dovizioso finished runner-up again, with Jack Miller third for his Satellite squad.   

Due to the somewhat wet conditions, the race had been cut short with Marquez leading the rest of the field. Marquez jumped into the lead from Dovizioso, Alex Rins and Miller in the first turn. He soon had a comfortable lead from his pursuers. Ducati’s lead man held second for the entire race as well. Behind the leaders, Rins and Miller battled for the final podium spot which eventually went to Miller, who wanted it more.

Marquez finished two seconds ahead of his rival to become just the fourth rider in Grand Prix history to take 50 wins in the premier class and equals Mike Hailwood’s 76 wins across all classes. Fourth on the all time winner list, Marquez heads to round 11 in Austria with 210 points, 63 points clear of Dovizioso.

Cal Crutchlow was fifth behind Rins as he beat his factory Yamaha mate Valentino Rossi, who was sixth. Crutchlow gained a position on Rossi, 13 laps from the end. The rest of the race was an eventful ride for the 9-time Champion as he didn’t want to risk a possible fall. He took sixth place, 9.083s from first.

Team mate Maverick Vinales couldn’t make an impression and battled mostly in the midfield. He would end up tenth, 16.558s from the front.

Eighth place went to Danilo Petrucci, who started from the third row. The Italian rider, who was seventh at the end of the opening lap, dropped down a couple of positions in the next few laps but was able to get back into eighth place on lap 13, finishing the race behind Fabio Quartararo.

The teams get right back into action at the Automotodrom Brno for the one-day rest.

2019 MotoGP Brno results

1          Marc Marquez Honda ESP     39’24.430

2          Andrea Dovizioso       Ducati ITA     39’26.882

3          Jack Miller      Honda AUS    39’27.927

4          Alex Rins        Suzuki ESP     39’29.288

5          Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR    39’30.437

6          Valentino Rossi          Yamaha           ITA            39’33.513

7          Fabio Quartararo         Yamaha           FRA            39’36.522

8          Danilo Petrucci           Ducati ITA     39’38.406

9          Takaaki Nakagami      Honda JPN     39’40.154

10        Maverick Viñales        Yamaha           ESP            39’40.988

Riders standings

1          Marc Marquez Honda ESP     210

2          Andrea Dovizioso       Ducati ITA     147

3          Danilo Petrucci           Ducati ITA     129

4          Alex Rins        Suzuki ESP     114

5          Maverick Viñales        Yamaha           ESP     91

6          Valentino Rossi          Yamaha           ITA     90

7          Jack Miller      Honda AUS    86

8          Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR    78

9          Fabio Quartararo         Yamaha           FRA    76

10        Pol Espargaro  KTM   ESP     61

MotoGP second half of season gets in gear at Brno

After a three-week break, MotoGP squads are ready to resume action and begin the second half of the championship at Brno and tenth round of the season.

Reigning Champion Marc Marquez is  eager to return to track and continue fighting for victory and lead in the standings. Having delivered a supreme performance at the German GP, Marquez has a comfy 58-point lead from his next challenger. The Automotodrom Brno is amongst Marquez’s most consistent circuits, only once finishing off the podium since joining the premier class in 2013, Since then, he has never finished outside of the top five.

With Jorge Lorenzo still on ice, Stefan Bradl continues to race for the team at Brno. The German rider has had an intense workload since finishing in the top ten at the Sachsenring; going on to take a podium finish at the legendary Suzuka 8 Hours race alongside his usual testing duties. Bradl is aiming for another strong weekend and is looking to build on what he and the team achieved in Germany.

Andrea Dovizioso, currently second in the championship with 127 points, has collected five podiums in total at Brno and is keen to take advantage of the characteristics of both the track and the Desmosedici GP to cut the gap from the leader.

Meanwhile, Danilo Petrucci, who always finished within the top ten at Brno with Ducati, is determined to start back strong and defend third position in the championship (121 points) after stepping on the podium in three of the last five races.

Yamaha riders play catch up to the league leaders as they go full steam ahead at the tenth round. Maverick Viñales arrives in Brno holding fifth place in the championship standings, after taking a superb win in Assen and a strong second place at the Sachsenring before the summer break. He is 100 points from first, and 36 points from entering the top-3, which he is aiming for.

Team mate Valentino Rossi is also looking forward to stepping aboard his beloved YZR-M1 again. The Italian is currently in sixth place in the 2019 MotoGP rankings, just five points behind his team-mate, and is looking to build momentum at a track that’s also special to him because he secured his first ever 125cc win at the Brno track in 1996. Rossi is a master at Brno: his 125cc victory in 1996 was followed by a 250cc win in 1999, a 500cc victory in 2001 and modern era premier class Brno victories in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2009. All combined, the nine-time Champion stood on the podium there 14 times and is keen on adding another Brno trophy to his collection, having finished just off the rostrum in fourth place in the last two years.

The action gets on the way with practice on Friday, the qualifiers on Saturday’s second half and the main event on Sunday.

Verstappen wins 2nd race of the year at rain-hit German GP

In a topsy-turvy rain-soaked German Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Max Verstappen was the big winner for Red Bull Racing. The two Mercedes finished out of the points for the first time in the season. Lewis Hamilton ended up 11th and Valtteri Bottas crashed out of the race. It took a horrid weather to stop Mercedes’ progress in the championship, so be it…at least we have an interesting race to witness.

The 11th round of the Formula 1 World Championships was going Mercedes’ way after Saturday’s qualifying where they secured positions 1 and 2. But, the tide turned against them on Sunday. Verstappen was the winner, but it was Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel who overcame the odds from last place on starting grid to second place at the finish.

At race start, Vettel quickly made up grounds from 20th to 14th and up 12th, after dispatching Daniel Riccairdo in a Renault. Verstappen tagged the Mercedes cars as the rest of the field struggled for grip on a damp track. Hamilton gambled on slicks rather than intermediates. It would soon became a nightmare for him

After the first stop and a safety car period, the restart saw Charles LeClerc zip past Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen for fourth. Few cars behind, Vettel jumped from tenth to seventh.

The rain came pouring round about the halfway mark of the race which made it more interesting. LeClerc fell victim to the weather as he crashed into the barriers, while running second at the time. Vettel had to switch to intermediates and retook the track in eighth.

Another safety car period at the three quarters mark following Hulkenberg’s crash. The surviving Ferrari ran ninth after a stop for tyres.

In the final stint, Hamilton ran wide and hit the wall, damaging his front wing. He dropped out of the race. Later, Bottas would crashed out from the lead. With the two Mercedes gone, Verstappen led from the field as everyone got promoted. Vettel, meantime, carved his way to the front with relative ease.  Another restart was required but it didn’t stop Vettel as he took out Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll to get up to third, with three laps to go.

Final two laps, the Ferrari made quick work of Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso to take the chequered flag in second place behind Verstappen. If there were more laps, Vettel could have snatched the win from the factory Red Bull…

Although Mercedes had the worst race of the season they still lead the standings, way ahead. Hamilton was classified 11th but somehow finished ninth in the classification. Robert Kubica took home a point for Williams by finishing tenth.

The next round takes place in Hungary, next weekend/

Top three drivers’ quotes:

Verstappen: It was definitely not an easy race and very tricky with the changing conditions. The Team made all the right calls. They were giving me the right information and keeping an eye on all the other teams and sector times. They were really on top of things and everyone worked so well together. It has been one of my most difficult races and it is great to come out on top. For sure I enjoy driving in the wet but also you need a good car for that. You can find a bit of pace in yourself but today we had both things right and I’m very happy with the result.

Vettel: That was quite a race. I enjoyed it even though it was a tricky race, something of a lottery. I made up a lot of ground immediately after the start and in the first couple of laps, even though it was difficult to see. After that, it was quite hard to get into a rhythm as I did not feel so comfortable on the intermediates and their degradation was quite high. It was hard to tell if the lack of grip was because of the track being greasy or because the tyres were going off. There are so many decisions to make, but overall we stayed on track and in the race. In mixed conditions when it was starting to dry on the slicks I felt comfortable and that’s when we made up the most ground.

Kvvyat: It’s incredible to be back on the podium in what could be called my ‘second career’. I thought it would never happen again in my life, so I’m so incredibly happy. There’s so many emotions I still need some time to let it all sink in!
 

2019 F1 German GP results

1     Max Verstappen   RED BULL            1:44:31.275  

2    Sebastian Vettel       FERRARI     +7.333s 

3     Daniil Kvyat   TORO ROSSO        +8.305s 

4     Lance Stroll   BWT        +8.966s 

5     Carlos Sainz MCLAREN    +9.583s 

6     Alexander Albon     TORO ROSSO    +10.052s      

7       Romain Grosjean HAAS    +16.838s      

8     Kevin Magnussen HAAS   +18.765s      

9     Lewis Hamilton       MERCEDES    +19.667s      

10   Robert Kubica       WILLIAMS        +24.987s

Drivers standings

1     Lewis Hamilton    GBR       MERCEDES 225

2     Valtteri Bottas      FIN       MERCEDES 184

3     Max Verstappen   NED       RED BULL RACING HONDA       162

4     Sebastian Vettel   GER       FERRARI      141

5     Charles Leclerc    MON       FERRARI      120

6     Pierre Gasly  FRA       RED BULL RACING HONDA     55

7     Carlos Sainz ESP       MCLAREN RENAULT 48

8     Daniil Kvyat   RUS       SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 27

9     Kimi Räikkönen    FIN ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI     25

10   Lando Norris GBR       MCLAREN RENAULT 22

Constructors rankings

1     MERCEDES 409

2     FERRARI      261

3     RED BULL RACING HONDA       217

4     MCLAREN RENAULT 70

5     SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 42

6     RENAULT     39

7     RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 31

8     HAAS FERRARI  26

9     ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI      26

10   WILLIAMS MERCEDES     1

Toyota Racing prepares for final season in WEC and Le Mans

Le Mans Champions Toyota Racing is preparing for a last hurrah in the upcoming WEC (World Endurance Championship) season and Le Mans. The squad of course captured the WEC titles and Le Mans without major challenges from factory-backed squads. In the new season, they wish to make it three-in-a-row at the Le Mans. Toyota Racing made their debut in the WEC in 2016.

The new season 2019/20 will feature eight races, spanning the UK, USA, South America, Asia and Middle-east. The shakedown or prologue is scheduled for 1 September at the Silverstone track. Toyota Racing is an obvious favorite without an obvious rival for a third consecutive title. The 2018 TS050 Hybrid became the first Toyota to win a Le Mans race. They are, however, not the first Japanese manufacturer to win that honor; that honor belongs to Mazda in 1991. Still, Toyota holds the honor of winning the Le Mans twice, and they’re now gunning for a three-peat.

For the new season, the same LMP1 car Toyota uses gets some modifications with revised aerodynamics and further fine-tuning of mechanical parts for reliability. The pilots confirmed for the new season are returnees, with the exception of former Le Mans winner Brendon Hartley, who’d a stint at Porsche in its heydays. Car no.7 once again has Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López at the helm. Sister car no.8 is driven by Hartley, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima. Meanwhile, Thomas Laurent is the test and reserve driver and will share driving duties with Signatech Alpine in an LMP2 racer.

Lopez remarked. “Mike, Kamui and I have one objective and that is to win races and the championship – and to take revenge at Le Mans. The new regulations for 2020-2021 are very exciting and we look forward to racing against other manufacturers again, which will be fun. But the downforce, the speed, the power of the TS050 Hybrid is amazing and I am sure that one day I will say that I was lucky to have the opportunity to race such a car.”

Hartley, the newbie, commented, “I fell in love with Le Mans when I first raced there in 2012 so, after missing two years, I can’t wait to return. Since Le Mans I had my first real test in the TS050 Hybrid and I am already feeling at home in the car and up to speed. My goals are always personal rather than results based.”

It all starts with the prologue, 4 Hours of Silverstone, then the first of eight races on four continents featuring a combined 66 hours of racing on historic tracks such as Sebring, Spa-Francorchamps and Fuji Speedway, ending at Le Mans on 13-14 June 2020.

2019-2020 WEC Calendar

1 September 4 Hours of Silverstone
6 October 6 Hours of Fuji
10 November 4 Hours of Shanghai
14 December 8 Hours of Bahrain
1 February 6 Hours of Sao Paulo
20 March 1000 Miles of Sebring
2 May 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
13-14 June Le Mans 24 Hours

Vietnam set to host F1 in 2020

Vietnam GP announces inaugural race ticket prices

Vietnam is set to host a Formula 1 race in 2020. Following a groundbreaking event in March, Vietnam is slated to be the third country in Southeast Asia to host an F1 race.

The Vietnam F1 GP is promoted by the Vietnam Grand Prix Corporation. The promoters have release pre-sale ticket prices for next year’s race. Prices for 3-day ticketing range from $165 (unreserved grandstand) to $4,100 (Diamond suite). Per-day ticketing is also available.

Set to become the fourth proper street race on the F1 calendar next year, the F1 Hanoi Racetrack will run to 5.57km and feature 22 corners, some of them borrowing heavily from iconic tracks like Suzuka and the Nürburgring. Designed by Tilke Engineers & Architects in partnership with F1’s own Motorsports team, the circuit is set to be one of the most challenging and exciting tracks on the calendar while also featuring one of the longest straights in the sport at 1.5km.

Chi Le Ngoc, CEO of the Vietnam Grand Prix Corporation, remarked, Today is another key milestone in the arrival of Formula 1 in Hanoi. We are thrilled to launch our ticket sales programme this week. Our message to everyone is clear: come to Hanoi next April not only to witness a spectacular race on F1’s newest street circuit but also to discover this beautiful city and all it has to offer.

The Vietnam GP 2020 is offering fans a choice of three different 3 ticket types: Hospitality, Grandstand and General Admission. Each ticket type is divided into several categories which include different benefits and can be bought as either 1-Day or 3-Day packages, ensuring that all spectators will have the chance to find the ticket category that best suits their requirements.

In addition to the three VGPC’s ticket categories, F1 fans can also choose to visit the F1 Paddock Club to enjoy the race weekend in style. No other sports hospitality event has the luxury of a whole weekend like Paddock Club, so there’s more than enough time to enjoy all the F1 experiences on offer here. On one side you can look down into the Paddock where drivers, celebrities and F1 legends walk. On the other, you look down onto the pit lane and the starting grid.

Apart from the F1 race, all ticket holders will also be able to enjoy watching the support series on track as well as participate in and witness the many entertainment activities, food festivals and live concerts that will be taking place across the circuit and F1 Fanzone all weekend.

For details, visit the official webpage at f1vietnamgp.com

Proton captures dominant wins at 2019 MCS Round 3

National car makers Proton has been a regular participant this season in the local motorsports series, the Malaysian Championship Series (MCS). As the only factory-backed squad, they obviously are head over heels over the rest of the field.

In the latest Round 3 at Sepang last weekend, Proton’s Team R3 clinched two wins in both races to extend their series advantage. Not only did they win, but Proton captured 1-2-3 in race two to show who’s ‘Boss’ on a familiar circuit. Each MCS race lasts about an hour, so it really put man and machine into the toughest challenge of domestic motorsports. Cars are pushed to the limits, while the drivers have to ensure they last the trials of an hour’s worth of laps.

Proton sent three R3 cars to the MCS field; a Suprima S with Mitchell Cheah, who  qualified on pole in the M-Production class, alongside an Iriz and a Saga with pilots Fariqe Hairuman/Syafiq Ali and James. The Iriz and Saga drivers managed fourth and fifth on the starting grid. The Suprima S took an outright win in race one.  The remaining two Proton cars were fourth and fifth.

In the second race, the order followed the finishing positions from race one. The Protons had strong start positions in first, fourth and fifth. Off the starting blocks, the Protons were in the top three, with the Suprima S leading the Iriz and Saga. The rest of the field tried to play catch up. The Iriz eventually led the race with the Suprima S second and the Saga third. The lead would stand and Proton secured a 1-2-3 finish for the first time in the MCS. The win pushes up Proton drivers (Hairuman/ Ali) to second overall in the drivers standings of the M-Production category.

Proton in Motorsports

The Proton R3 badge is no stranger in motorsports, over the past 15 years. Proton was a force to be reckoned with in the MME (Merdeka Millennium Endurance) back in 2005 and 2006. They have secured four outright wins in the S1K (Sepang 1000km) endurance in 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2018.

.Although the drivers get most of the glory, motor racing is a team sport with success dependent on the hard work of multiple key partners and people to ensure a positive result. The team utilizes all its assets, including efficient pit stops and painstaking teamwork by the crew to pull off its best results. R3 engineers and team personnel spend countless hours to build a winning race car that reflects the technical capabilities and professionalism of everyone involved. They also work hand-in-hand with Proton’s engineers to ensure that lessons learned on the track are communicated to the team responsible for the road cars.

Marquez storms to Win at Sachsenring

The German Grand Prix at Sachsenring saw Marc Marquez take a pole to victory, ahead of Yamaha rival Maverick Vinales and Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda. Best Ducati finisher was Danilo Petrucci  who finished fourth in front of Championship hopeful team mate Andrea Dovizioso.

Marquez’s win ensures he extends his lead in the Riders standings, now 58 points apart. The MotoGP contingent now heads for a three-week break before getting back into action at Brno, 2 – 4 August.

At the start, Marquez already on the groove as he led the tightly bunch field on the first turn. A couple of fastest laps ensured he pulled a comfortable lead from the closest pursuer. From the fifth lap onwards, he was on his own unless something some mishaps occur. Marquez practically sailed to the finish line, 4.5 seconds from second place runner. It was the 49th MotoGP win of his career. The victory is Marquez’s tenth straight win at the Sachsenring, a level of domination no other rider has achieved in the modern era.

Suzuki’s Alex Rins briefly stole runner-up spot from Vinales on lap 4. Rins would crash out on lap 19, which promoted Vinales to second. The Yamaha rider drifted further from the Repsol Honda and had to keep Crutchlow in check. In the closing laps, Vinales held second firmly as Crutchlow made a tiny mistake on the final lap.

The third group had the two Ducatis sloughing it out for fourth. After a strong start, Petrucci and Dovizioso were sixth and seventh from the second lap within a group of seven riders separated by only 1.5 seconds, then climbed to fourth and fifth respectively by the half-way point. Petrucci held off his team mate for fourth. just 92 thousandths of a second apart. 


It was a difficult race for Rossi who started from 11th and ended up eighth. He benefitted from several riders who crashed out. He ran ninth after picking off Pol Espargaró. In the final stages of the race, he overtook Franco Morbidelli with 9 laps to go and was eager to join the now fight for fourth, but a mistake, with four laps remaining, cost him a couple of tenths. He tried to have another go, but ultimately had to settle for eighth place, 19.110s from the top.

Jorge Lorenzo’s replacement Stefan Bradl was author to a consistent race, lapping steadily in the mid 1’22s as he chased the group battling for the top ten throughout. The home rider took 11th place from P.Espargaro late in the race and moved into tenth place soon after. He would snap up a tenth spot at the finish line.

2019 German GP Sachsenring results

1         MARC MARQUEZ   SPA   REPSOL HONDA TEAM 41’08.276

2         MAVERICK VIÑALES        SPA   MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP     + 4.587

3         CAL CRUTCHLOW GBR   LCR HONDA CASTROL    + 7.741

4         DANILO PETRUCCI          ITA     MISSION WINNOW DUCATI  + 16.577

5         ANDREA DOVIZIOSO       ITA     MISSION WINNOW DUCATI  + 16.669

6         JACK MILLER         AUS   PRAMAC RACING           + 16.836

7         JOAN MIR    SPA   TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR           + 17.156

8         VALENTINO ROSSI          ITA     MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP     + 19.110

9         FRANCO MORBIDELLI     ITA     PETRONAS YAMAHA SRT         + 20.634

10       STEFAN BRADL     GER   REPSOL HONDA TEAM + 22.708

Riders standings

1         MARC MARQUEZ   185    

2         ANDREA DOVIZIOSO       127               

3         DANILO PETRUCCI          121               

4         ALEX RINS   101    

5         MAVERICK VIÑALES        85                 

6         VALENTINO ROSSI          80                 

7         JACK MILLER         70                 

8         FABIO QUARTARARO      67                 

9         CAL CRUTCHLOW 67       16                 

10       POL ESPARGARÒ 56

MotoGP Round 9: A storm before the calm

The Sachsenring hosts Round 9 as the championship hits the mid-part of the season. Defending Champion Marc Marquez is eager to get back on the bike, despite a short rest. The Repsol Honda man usually does well at this circuit. Since joining the premier class in 2013, Marquez has converted pole position to victory on each of his six visits to the German track.

Team mate Jorge Lorenzi isn’t participating this race as he’s recovering from a crash at the previous GP. HRC test rider Stefan Bradl takes over Lorenzo’s spot. Bradl has twice finished in the top five at the Sachsenring while riding a Honda in 2012 and 2013.

Maverick Vinales who won at the previous GP at Assen intends to keep the momentum going this weekend. Vinales has had a podium here as many as  three times, in lower classes. In MotoGP, he has gotten a podium spot last year for Yamaha. His target for this weekend is a podium at the Sachsenring.

The Doctor Valentino Rossi arrives in Saxony searching for redemption after an unfortunate crash in the Netherlands. He scored a strong second place here last year and is more than starving for a podium finish, again. This weekend the Doctor sets out to secure his fifth MotoGP race win at the German circuit to add to his victories from 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2009. He also stood on the premier class podium in 2000, 2003, 2008, and 2018 for a second place, and in 2013 and 2015, having taken third position.

Prior to the race, Ducati MotoGP have signed up Danilo Petrucci for a second term. Petrucci will once again partner Andrea Dovizioso for the new season. His first season with the factory yielded three podium, including a fantastic win at Mugello.

Ducati MotoGP have  scored five podiums in total, the last of which in 2016 with Dovizioso. Last year, moreover, Petrucci led a group of four Ducati riders on the finish line to claim fourth place, just five tenths of a second off the podium. 

Both Ducati riders, who are currently second and third in the championship with 116 and 108 points respectively, are keen to get closer to the top of the standings and finish the first leg of the season positively ahead of a challenging start of the second phase, with three races scheduled in August.

The action at Sachsenring begins today with free practice 1. Lights go out on the 30 lap MotoGP race on Sunday. After that, it’s summer break.

2019 Formula 1 Austrian GP: Someone finally beats Mercedes for the win

Max Verstappen fights back for emphatic win

After nine races in the season, someone has finally dethroned Mercedes’ tight grip in the first eight races. Max Verstappen broke the chain in an emphatic second win at Red Bull’s home GP. Second was Charles LeClerc for Ferrari and third place went to, you guessed it, a Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas.

It was a tough race for Verstappen who had a problem at the start. He qualified seventh but had to work his way up from seventh. But the young Dutchman stayed calm and pushed hard. His pursuit for the top spot was aided by a super reliable and fast car.

In the second stint, he topped Bottas on lap 56 to get to second and then hunted down LeClerc. It took until the final laps, on lap 68, till Verstappen got a clear straight line to pick off the Ferrari for the lead. The Ferrari man made the most of the SF90s good traction to retake the lead on the next straight. One lap later, Verstappen attacked again at the same place, but collided with LeClerc, which forced him to run wide. The Red Bull driver would take the flag 2.7 seconds ahead of the Ferrari man.

Behind LeClerc and Bottas came the usuel suspects Sebastien Vettel and Lewis Hamilton in fourth and fifth. In the closing laps, Vettel caught Hamilton and passed him for a fitting finish.

Here’s selected top ten drivers’ quotes:

Verstappen: All weekend we have been working really well and the upgrades seem to have worked. Thank you to all the crew here, everyone at the factory and of course Honda, it’s not been easy for them over the past years but to win for them today is just incredible.

LeClerc: It was a positive weekend overall. Unfortunately, it did not end as we would have liked it to. My first stint was good and our pace was there. We pitted early to prevent losing our track position to Bottas. This made the second stint longer and more challenging than expected, as the rear tyres degraded quite a bit towards the end of the race.

Bottas: We expected this race to be tricky, but it turned out to be even more difficult than we predicted. We had to do lots of lifting and coasting and couldn’t use all engines modes to keep the engine from overheating. So, we couldn’t really race properly, and I had to manage temperatures for the majority of the race. It made both defending and attacking very difficult. But you have to look at the positives – I got some good points out of this weekend and I don’t think there was much difference in terms of race pace.

Lando Norris: It was a fun race! A good start, managed to go forwards and battled the Mercedes and the Ferrari for a lap or so, but had to concede those positions and think of my own race.

Kimi Raikkonen: We can be satisfied with scoring points, it was a good result for the team. I had a good start and the first laps were pretty ok, but then it became a bit more difficult. I felt I lacked a bit of speed to challenge the cars around me and when I did have it, I had to be careful with the tyres. It was a balancing act, trying to keep the tyres alive long enough while still going fast enough.

2019 F1 Austrian GP results

1     33   Max Verstappen   RED BULL        1:22:01.822  

2     16   Charles Leclerc       FERRARI    +2.724s 

3     77   Valtteri Bottas       MERCEDES    +18.960s      

4     5     Sebastian Vettel       FERRARI        +19.610s   

5     44   Lewis Hamilton       MERCEDES    +22.805s     

6     4     Lando Norris MCLAREN      +1 lap   

7     10   Pierre Gasly  RED BULL   +1 lap   

8     55   Carlos Sainz MCLAREN   +1 lap   

9     7     Kimi Räikkönen    ALFA ROMEO      +1 lap   

10   99   Antonio Giovinazzi       ALFA ROMEO   +1 lap

Drivers standings

1     Lewis Hamilton    GBR       MERCEDES 197

2     Valtteri Bottas      FIN       MERCEDES 166

3     Max Verstappen   NED       RED BULL RACING HONDA       126

4     Sebastian Vettel   GER       FERRARI      123

5     Charles Leclerc    MON       FERRARI      105

6     Pierre Gasly  FRA       RED BULL RACING HONDA     43

7     Carlos Sainz ESP       MCLAREN RENAULT 30

8     Lando Norris GBR       MCLAREN RENAULT 22

9     Kimi Räikkönen    FIN ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI     21

10   Daniel Ricciardo   AUS       RENAULT     16

Constructors rankings

1     MERCEDES 363

2     FERRARI      228

3     RED BULL RACING HONDA       169

4     MCLAREN RENAULT 52

5     RENAULT     32

6     ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI      22

7     RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 19

8     SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 17

9     HAAS FERRARI  16